£27m for next generation solid state silicon battery materials and recycling

£27m for next generation solid state silicon battery materials and recycling

Feature articles |
By Nick Flaherty

The UK’s Faraday Battery Challenge has announced 12 projects worth over £27m (€35m) on battery recycling and next generation solid state silicon battery materials.

The projects include OXLiD exploring Lithium-sulfur (Li-S) batteries to the EXtrAPower project led by Nyobolt that aims to bring to market an ultra-fast charging battery technology that charges in minutes.

Projects also include a digital twin for battery development and commercialising solid state battery technology from Ilika for electric vehicles using silicon anode material from Nexeon.

Ilika, Nexeon team for UK silicon solid state batteries

Battery digital twin

The DigiTwin project aims to create a digital twin for quality and yield improvement at battery gigafactories.

One of the largest challenges for scaling battery production, is the speed at which high quality batteries need to be created. The other is the ability to increase the volume whilst maintaining productivity.

Using an open access X-ray computed tomography (CT) digital solution Waygate Technologies with the UK Battery Industrialisation Centre (UKBIC) are working towards significantly improving productivity at the facility. A 1% yield improvement in a 20GWh battery gigafactory could save over £21 million a year and reduce raw material wastage, some of which are rare earth minerals.

The DigiTwin team will establish the feasibility of creating a digital twin of UKBIC to explore the effectiveness of CT scanning as an advanced analytical tool to identify, analyse and resolve quality defects much faster and more accurately than traditional inspection methods.

The group also includes PXL Ice.

The CONDUCTOR project aims to develop thin and lightweight current collector for lithium-ion batteries (LIB).

The project aims to develop a lightweight and low-cost polymer current collector to replace the aluminium and copper foil current collectors used in LIBs and be the first UK manufacturer of LIB current collectors.

This could save 4kg in weight in a typical 50kg automotive battery pack. Increasing the battery’s charge and power density. Consortia members include Rapid Powders, Euriscus, University of Warwick, Global Nano Network and Graphene Star.

The CatContiCryst project is looking at continuous manufacture of Li-ion battery cathode materials using oscillating baffled reactor or crystalliser technology

This project aims to demonstrate the technical feasibility of manufacturing nickel salt, cobalt salt and manganese salt (NMC) precursor materials using continuous oscillatory baffled reactor or crystallizer (COBR/C) technology and provide required process data for future scale-up to commercial scale.

Consortia members include Nitech Solutions, CPI and the University of Sheffield

Enhanced carbon nano tubes (CNT) for high power electrodes is creating a robust UK battery material supply chain.

This project aims to contribute to next generation Li-ion battery supply chain leadership for the UK and its successful placement in the domestic and international markets. Matching Echion’s anode materials with Q-Flo’s highly conductive ultra-long carbon nanotubes will demonstrate a new battery anode low-mass additive for high-power, high-energy density and long cycle life batteries.

Consortia members include Q-Flo and Echion Technologies.

OXLiD is leading a project to accelerate the development, scale-up and commercialisation of Li-S batteries within the aerospace and EV markets.

This project focuses on the development of quasi-solid-state Li-S batteries that have the potential to significantly improve the number of times Li-S batteries can be cycled before they reach end of life and the energy they can store per unit volume as well as the temperature range over which they can operate.

“Efficient and reliable batteries are the key to powering new, green industries that will create jobs and enable our UK-made transition to net zero – from our world-leading renewables industry to our growing electric vehicle sector,” said UK Minister for Industry and Investment Security Nusrat Ghani.

“As we move towards a net zero future the UK’s electric vehicle industry must continue to evolve,” said Tony Harper, Challenge Director for the Faraday Battery Challenge.

“These winning projects have all shown how their ideas can potentially accelerate the development of technologies or business practices in the UK.”

For temperature monitoring, cooling and heating during normal operation in a demonstration battery packs, the TECHNO project aims to develop an innovative battery pack suitable for all EVs. For a battery to deliver its best performance over a long life, the temperature of all the cells in it must be kept uniformly at the right operating temperature. TECHNO is the first system designed to be able to do this with its capacity for active differential thermal management.

Working to the requirements of industry partners, who manufacture batteries and battery management systems, the TECHNO project will create an intelligent battery module which can monitor and control its own temperature profile.

Consortia members include PST Sensors Europe, P.A.K Engineering  and CPI.

The EB-Bat project will demonstrate battery pack manufacture using an electron beam process shown to be potentially 20 times faster than laser welding. Electron beams (EBs) can be deflected and refocused much faster than laser beams, as this is achieved using magnetic fields, without moving parts as the welds are made. Plus, EBs do not suffer from reflectivity from copper and aluminium, making more consistent and reliable welds.

The EB-Bat project will provide a compelling demonstration of the process performance, productivity, quality and economics to the automotive manufacturing sector with an aim to secure funding to take it into production.

Consortia members include Aquasium Technology, Delta Cosworth and the Welding Institute (TWI).

Bringing to market an ultra-fast charging battery technology, the EXtrAPower led by NyoBolt drops vehicle charging from hours to minutes, with a similar or improved performance output compared to a bank of batteries double its size thanks to high power density. Further, Nyobolt batteries have a long lifetime, low risk of premature failure and are recyclable, resulting in a very small carbon footprint and creating user confidence.

Current collectors are a critical component of a battery. Used to bridge batteries and external circuits, they are responsible for the flow of electrons between the negative and the positive terminals of the battery (electrodes). These directly influence the charge rate capability, battery capacity and the useful lifespan of the cell. Unfortunately, todays current collectors suffer from poor adhesion, high degradation, severe corrosion issues and increased contact resistance.

The CONTACT project aims to validate Global Nano Network (GNN) coatings technology in a continuous roll-to-roll environment and then produce cylindrical cells the performance. Having established a UK-based value chain, the project will increase GNN’s manufacturing readiness level of production facilities in the UK by engaging all stakeholders.

GNN’s proprietary formulation uses organic polymers and binders and conductive material to reduce contact resistance, prevent corrosion, and increase adhesion. These advantages make the battery industry more competitive and sustainable for EV applications but also for mobile devices and energy storage systems requiring high electrical performance.

3D electrodes

The CONSTELLATION project is boosting construction of smart 3D electrode Lithium-ion batteries via industrial processes and standards. New current collectors designed by the adoption of artificial intelligence and the the formulation of customised electrodes in lithium-ion batteries using coating that can be robotically automated will boost new processes that will help reduce the time for scaling cell production resulting in lower costs for manufacturing and cost of ownership for the end-user.

Thi sis intended to be a ‘drop-in’ solution where affordable electrodes can be supplied to a variety of facilities, developed with Addionics, CPI and James Durrans & Sons.

A database of battery parameters called Voltt is eing developed for virtual modelling and optimisation of battery cells to accelerate research and development

Current research and design processes for battery developments are expensive and time consuming as they can take several years. Although battery modelling tools exist, they suffer from a lack of accurate data.

The requirements for data or expensive equipment for data capture sets a high bar for new entrants into the industry and is a barrier to battery development.

Although virtual modelling can speed up the battery development process, by helping with cell selection and lifetime predictions, typical modelling tools offer battery modelling but no data. So, the major limiting factor to virtual battery modelling is a lack of accurate data.

The Voltt is a solution that will allow organisations to harness the power of data and modelling to speed-up battery developments. Through the Voltt, customers will have access to in-house, high-quality cell data sets and access to battery models.

The New BATSEED project will deliver two developments for next generation automotive EV battery cells and anode materials using silicon.

Nexeon will develop a new silicon anode material and high silicon content electrodes to enable higher energy density Li-ion cells. The project will use cell assembly capabilities at Coventry University to fabricate and test silicon containing cells.

A team from University College London’s Electrochemical Innovation Lab will provide support to optimise via feedback from analysis of electrode structures and cycled cells.

Next generation LFP

The NEXLFP project is developing the next generation lithium ferro-phosphate (LFP) cathode materials with high capacity, high discharge rate and low-cost.

The customers are EV gigafactories and cell manufacturers that require reliable, higher performance LFP material to improve their current LFP cells at a competitive price, 30% lower than today with 20% less weight and material consumption and about 3 times more capacity in cold temperatures, at high discharge rates. This includes Integrals Power and Cranfield University.


The CAM-EV project focuses on optimising Altilium’s novel hydrometallurgical method to process black mass containing multiple end-of-life battery chemistries to recover the critical metals and ensure the consistent production of a high-quality, tailored cathode-active material (CAM).

Imperial College London will test and qualify the CAM material in silo, before using it to manufacture cathodes in battery cells for further performance qualification. Also, the consortium will perform a technical and commercial viability assessment regarding the processing of next-generation sodium ion batteries.

REBLEND aims to develop the core processes and capabilities for a UK-based automotive battery recycling industry that can recover CAMs from production scrap and end of life automotive and consumer batteries for reuse in automotive batteries.

REBLEND will demonstrate 3 processes for recovering the most expensive CAMs, cobalt, nickel and lithium by combining novel delamination, magnetic, electrostatic and membrane separation techniques to produce separated and greater than or equal to 89% pure anodic and greater than or equal to 94% pure cathodic black mass from shredded EoL LIBs (compared to less than 89% pure mixed black mass from best-in-class competitor) enabling battery-grade CAM recovery for £6 per kg.

Direct cathode reclamation from production scrap containing nickel and cobalt removes the need for hydro-metallurgy and enables direct reuse in new cells. Processing coarse shredded material measuring 2 to 6mm using electrostatic and magnetic separation prevents carcinogenic dust formation, significantly reducing health and safety risks for workers

Consortia members include Ecoshred, Minviro, Iconichem Widnes, Watercycle Technologies, Ecolamp Recycling, Gamma and Cornish Lithium


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